|L. v. Beethoven / F. Liszt
Symphony No. 9 (Transcription)
Konstantin Scherbakov, Piano
Beethoven - Symphony No. 9 in D minor, S464/R128, "Choral"
"Another winner from Scherbakov/Liszt/Beethoven. I had not expected to like this recording as much as I had the earlier CDs of Konstantin Scherbakov playing Liszt's piano transcriptions of the Beethoven symphonies, and indeed the first time I listened to it I found myself really missing the soloists and chorus in the last movement. But the second time through I found that I could set that aside and listen to it as a PIANO performance, not as a substitute for the 'real thing.' And my goodness, this is spectacular playing on Scherbakov's part! And that is particularly so in that last movement because of all the musical events that come racing pell-mell after each other, often on top of each other. The adagio, as the earlier reviewer stated, is simply ravishing, and frankly I heard things--inner voices primarily--that usually get covered up in orchestral performances. I followed throughout with an orchestral score and am simply amazed not only how Liszt was able to include almost everything, but at Scherbakov's ability to bring it out. Thumbs up." Amazon.com
"Don’t fall into the trap of considering this an eccentric curiosity! This is an expert reading of an almost completely convincing transcription of one of music’s most seminal masterpieces: so, a splendid CD of a great (but little known) piano sonata! ... I must say I’ve admired everything Scherbakov has done for Naxos to date. He’s got all the artistic and technical credentials to bring this, and most other programmes, off, and seems to have immersed himself in this music. It’s a remarkable achievement. ... On this recording, Scherbakov is meticulous in differentiating by means of articulation between one idea and its counterpart, so hearing superimposed lines isn’t a problem for us, despite the nominal lack of tonal contrast on a supposedly-monochrome instrument." Peter J Lawson, MusicWeb International
"Liszt's Beethoven symphony transcriptions for piano solo demand the utmost in technique, stamina, and musicianship--perhaps in the Ninth most of all, where the soloist must assimilate the solo vocal quartet and choir music in addition to bearing the orchestral burden. By and large, Konstantin Scherbakov has what it takes to meet Liszt's cruel demands head on. In contrast to Cyprien Katsaris' effective emendations of Liszt's text in the name of orchestrally inspired sonority and dramatic impact, Scherbakov is a purist by comparison. He trusts Liszt's "de-orchestration" as written, and for the most part wields a lighter, more incisive, and suppler pair of hands over the symphony's course than Leslie Howard on Hyperion. ...this is an admirable release . . ." Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
"This superb disc is number 21 in Naxos’s projected series of Liszt’s complete piano music. My initial reason for wanting to listen to this was curiosity but I will re-listen in the future because the experience was much more compelling than I had expected. It made me think afresh about a work I thought I knew well. Each time I have listened to it I have marvelled at Beethoven’s music, Liszt’s conception for the piano, and Scherbakov’s musicianship and virtuosity. My feeling is that the difficulties of playing the 9th Symphony on the piano must increase progressively throughout the work. The first movement is relatively straightforward compared to the Can a piano really sing like four soloists and a chorus? Of course it can’t but Scherbakov’s piano sings for all it is worth and the words went round in my head. Scherbakov handles the various contrasting sections of the finale with the same skill as a great conductor and he brings off a magnificent conclusion. The fantastic glow that you should feel at the end of this work was just as intense as ever. Second time round, listening to this disc with the orchestral score was an interesting experience. ...This is a magnificent disc and listening to it is a truly uplifting experience." Patrick C Waller, MusicWeb International